Way back in February Park Chasers had a conversation about what the best way to celebrate the National Park centennial would be. “How about a trip back to Glacier?” It was the first national park we ever visited way back in 2010. It was also our first time to the Rocky Mountains. And our first time hiking above 7000 feet. Our first encounters with a moose and a grizzly bear too. It only seemed fitting to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a visit to the place that started it all.
So by the time this posts, Park Chasers will be somewhere in the middle of Montana en route to the “Crown of the Continent.” Six months of Glacier National Park trip planning will have come together in our perfect idea of an end of summer road trip. It also includes stops at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site along the way.
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Glacier National Park Trip Planning Ideas
Our end of summer road trip begins at base camp in Minnesota. We’re driving through North Dakota (stopping for a night in Jamestown, ND) and into Northern Montana. When we near Glacier National Park we’ll be heading north into Canada. Glacier National Park holds the unique status as an “International Peace Park,” since a portion of the park extends into Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. We’re spending a few days in the Waterton area before heading south for four days in the Many Glacier area. On the way home we’ll spend a night at Theodore Roosevelt National Park and make a stop at Knife River Indian Villages in North Dakota.
Camping in Glacier National Park is one of the highlights from our 2010 trip. This time we are staying at the Townsite Campground in Waterton Lakes and then in the Many Glacier Campground in Glacier National Park. After Labor Day the reservations slow down and the campgrounds empty out from the busy summer season. We’re looking forward to quiet nights around the campfire.
Weather this time of year in the Rockies can be precarious. We’ve packed both warm and cold weather gear with the expectation we’ll see below-freezing temps on at least some of the days. We’re also testing out a new gear loft with battery pack that fits in our Big Agnes tent on this trip and some new backpacking recipes from Cache Lake, the Minnesota outfitter who keeps us well-fed while we’re off park chasing.
The highlights of our 2010 trip were hiking the Grinnell Glacier Trail and the Avalanche Lake Trails. We have those on our list, along with the Highline Trail which departs from the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center. The hike was recommended to us by a friend who served on the staff at the Many Glacier Hotel for many years. We’ll also be hiking around the Goat Haunt area in the northern section of the park.
Our scenic drives.
Two scenic drives top the list this trip. First is the Going-to-The-Sun Road which crosses over the middle section of Glacier National Park. It’s arguably one of the best in the world. We’ll be spending at least 1-2 days seeing the sites and hiking at stops along the road. The second scenic drive on our list is in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. The Scenic Loop Drive winds through the south unit of the park with chances to see bison, prairie dogs, and wild horses.
If there’s other things we should add to our 2016 Glacier National Park Trip Planning, be sure to post in the comments section below. We’ll be checking in a few times on the road and would love some last-minute suggestions!
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